Appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County; the Hon.
John C. Layng, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE HOPF DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Defendants, Johnnie Bailey and Verdie Bailey, appeal from convictions of aggravated battery following a jury trial. Verdie Bailey was convicted of two counts of aggravated battery. Johnnie Bailey was convicted of one count of aggravated battery and one misdemeanor count for obstructing a police officer. On appeal they contend that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Verdie was guilty of committing batteries upon Rockford police officers Phillip Rote and Frederick Franck without legal justification; that the failure to instruct the jury regarding the law of self-defense and defense of another deprived both defendants of a fair trial; and that improper comments by the prosecutor during voir dire and closing argument denied defendants a fair trial.
This matter began on November 10, 1979, when Mrs. Verdie Bailey called the Rockford police regarding a family dispute between her son Fritz and his wife. Officer Frederick Franck testified that he was working alone when he received a call at around noon to go to 24 Preston Street. Upon arrival, he saw Fritz Bailey standing on the street about one block to the west of Preston. Fritz Bailey was not wearing a shirt, despite the cold weather, was jumping up and down and appeared very agitated or frustrated. Fritz told the officer that there was a problem on Pierpont Street a block away and the two proceeded in that direction. When they reached the corner of Preston and Pierpont they were joined by Officer Phillip Rote. Fritz pointed to a house across the street, said his wife was there, and that he wanted to talk to her. Officer Franck told Fritz to stay on the corner with Officer Rote while he went across the street to see what was going on. At that point, Franck did not see anyone else in the area or inside the house. Fritz was still acting in a very agitated manner. Franck testified that he told Fritz three times to stay at the corner and that each time Fritz tried to follow him. Franck then told Fritz he would arrest him for disorderly conduct if he followed him again. Franck again crossed the street; Fritz followed and Rote handcuffed him after telling him he was under arrest. Franck returned to assist Rote. Fritz cooperated and returned to the squad car but refused to get in. The officers each took one of Fritz' arms and tried to push him into the car. They testified that they used no weapons.
Suddenly, Fritz' sisters, Rosie Bailey and defendant Johnnie Bailey, arrived. Franck testified that he received a "poke" or "punch" on the back of his head. When he turned around Rosie Bailey punched him between the eyes, breaking his glasses. Rote heard both girls exclaiming they did not want their brother to go to jail. He testified that Johnnie punched him, breaking his nonprescription sunglasses. Franck testified that he grabbed Rosie and tried to subdue her and they continued to scuffle. He finally sat on top of her on the ground. Rote testified that he grabbed Johnnie Bailey's right hand and restrained her. He testified that he did not remember striking her. Rote testified that before Franck subdued Rosie by sitting on her, she broke away from Franck and hit Rote on the head with a three-foot piece of lathing or a "stick." Rote took the stick from her and put it in the car. Franck identified the stick at trial.
During the struggle the Baileys' mother, defendant Verdie Bailey, joined the group. Franck testified that she grabbed his hair and hit him with her fists. Rote testified that he did not hear Verdie ask him not to hit Rosie, but that she was screaming that she did not want her daughters to go to jail. She clawed Rote and Franck with her fingernails, and Rote took Verdie in the the crook of his left arm and hit her in the temple with his fist. He testified that after he hit Verdie she went back to Officer Franck. Rote testified that Verdie went into a faint when assisting officers arrived. The fight ended when Officer Rote pulled his gun. The officers testified that after the fight they did not see any injuries on either defendant. Officer Rote also testified he saw no injuries on Rosie or Fritz.
Meanwhile a crowd had gathered. Two neighbors testified for defendants at trial. Deborah Williams, 18, testified that she saw the larger of the two officers (Officer Rote) hit Fritz Bailey with a nightstick trying to put him into the squad car. Rosie ran over to the officer and hollered something. The police grabbed her and Johnnie and began to beat them. Johnnie pulled the big officer off her younger sister. Williams testified that Officer Rote beat and kicked Rosie about ten times. When Verdie came up, all of a sudden an officer had her on the ground. After the fight ended the witness saw that Verdie was bleeding around the eye and maybe her nose. One of the officers was bleeding on the side of the face. The witness did not see Johnnie at the end of the fight. On cross-examination she testified that she did not see how the fight started or who struck the first blow.
Mary Williams, 17, testified that an officer beat Fritz Bailey with a blackjack or stick shaped like a bat. Rosie Bailey ran up to the officers. The witness did not know whether Rosie hit an officer when she ran up to them. One officer grabbed her and started beating her on the face, throwing her down, kicking her and pulling her hair. On cross-examination the witness testified that one officer held Rosie's arms while the other officer administered the beating. Rosie was hitting back. When Verdie tried to pull Rosie away, she said, "Rosie, stop, you will get hurt." Rosie said, "I haven't did nothing to him, he did it to me." One officer grabbed Verdie and held her while the other officer beat her. Rosie was on the ground with her shirt opened, hollering. The witness admitted on cross-examination that she did not see the beginning of the fight. She did not see Johnnie Bailey in the fight.
Rosie Bailey, 14, testified that her brother and his wife had a misunderstanding and their mother went to their grandmother's house to phone the police. Rosie saw Fritz outside without a coat and went out with Johnnie to take him one. She testified that after Officer Rote handcuffed Fritz, he was "poking" him. When she asked Rote why he was poking her brother, Rote grabbed her and started twisting her arm. She testified that she then picked up a stick and they began to "battle their way." Officer Franck popped her in the left side of the face and tore her shirt off. After she and Officer Rote had a tussle on the ground Verdie Bailey ran up and asked Rosie to stop. She saw Rote put Johnnie against the wall and hit her in the chest with his fists. Finally, Officer Franck sat on top of her until Rote drew his gun. Then she was handcuffed and put in the car. Rosie saw Verdie get popped in the face by Rote.
Defendant Johnnie Bailey, 17, testified that she and her sister saw the officer hitting and pushing her brother trying to put him into a squad car. They were not hitting Fritz with a nightstick. Rosie was angry with the officers. Rote called Rosie a "bitch" and when Rosie objected to the epithet, one of the officers grabbed Rosie and punched her in the face. After the scuffle started Johnnie began to walk away; Rote then grabbed Johnnie by the arm and she got scratched. She scratched Rote on the nose. She offered no other resistance. Verdie came up and said, "Johnnie, stop, before you get hurt." Johnnie said, "I'm not doing anything." Then Johnnie was handcuffed and placed in the squad car. Johnnie saw Verdie run over to Rosie and tell her to stop. Next she saw Verdie "laying out." She saw the officers drag Verdie to a car. Johnnie testified she was not hit by anyone and that all she did was scratch an officer when he held her arm. She did not see Rosie strike an officer.
Verdie Bailey testified that on November 10, 1979, her son Fritz and his wife had a misunderstanding and Fritz was acting strange, as though he were intoxicated or on drugs. She went to her mother's house and called the police. At one point Verdie saw officers handcuffing Fritz. Later Verdie looked out the window and saw two officers hitting her daughters "upside of the head." Verdie ran out and said, "Johnnie, stop, you will get hurt, you will get in trouble." Johnnie said, "I haven't got him, he got me." Franck was hitting Johnnie about her head and shoulders. Verdie saw Rosie and Rote scuffling. The officer hit Rosie in the head. Verdie saw him hit Rosie twice. Verdie asked him to stop. Verdie did not see Rosie strike Rote or Franck. Verdie testified that Franck grabbed her right arm and twisted it. Rote grabbed her left arm and kicked her on the inner thigh. Rote then knocked her out. Verdie testified she did not touch either officer during the fight. After the fight she was flung into a squad car and taken to the station. Over defense counsel's objection, Verdie testified that she was in another fight that same day at the police station. She testified that she was manhandled but that "there wasn't any licks passed." Verdie Bailey identified defendant's exhibits one through four as photographs taken of her two days after the fight with Franck and Rote and the incident at the police station depicting the condition of her face and of her inner thigh.
Rochelle Dent testified for the defense that as she was driving on November 10, 1979, she saw a large crowd on the corner of Pierpont and Preston. When she approached, she saw two policemen over six feet tall, weighing over 200 pounds, beating a woman and what appeared to be a 10-year-old girl with clubs. When Dent attempted to intervene, she was arrested and taken to the police station with the Baileys. Dent testified that at the police station Verdie Bailey had "dried blood streaming down her forehead."
Johnnie Bailey was found not guilty of aggravated battery as to Franck, but guilty of aggravated battery as to Rote and guilty of obstructing Franck. Verdie Bailey was found guilty of aggravated battery upon both Franck and Rote. The defendants were each sentenced to one year's probation with restitution to the officers for broken glasses and damaged clothing.
The jury had not been instructed on the issue of self-defense or defense of others; both Verdie and Johnnie Bailey cite the failure to do so as error on appeal. Verdie also argues that the State failed to prove that she committed battery on the officers without legal justification.
The State argues that neither Verdie nor Johnnie tendered an instruction on self-defense nor preserved the issue in their motions for a new trial and thus they may not raise this issue on appeal.
As a general rule, the failure to object at trial to an asserted error in jury instructions waives the issue on appeal. People v. Tannenbaum ...